Over the course of her career, Simone Leigh (b. 1967, Chicago) has continuously and insistently centered the black female experience. In Loophole of Retreat, an exhibition presented on the occasion of Leigh winning the 2018 Hugo Boss Prize, she layers form, sound, and text to fashion narratives of resilience and resistance. The project’s title is drawn from the writings of Harriet Jacobs, a formerly enslaved abolitionist who in 1861 published an account of her struggle to achieve freedom, including the seven years she spent hiding from her master in a tiny crawl space beneath the rafters of her grandmother’s home. This act of defiant fortitude, which forged a “loophole of retreat” from an unjust reality, serves as a touchstone for Leigh’s long-standing commitment to honoring the agency of black women and their power to inhabit worlds of their own creation.
The Hugo Boss Prize 2018: Simone Leigh, Loophole of Retreat is on view through October 27 at Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum 1071 5th Ave, New York, NY 10128. photographs courtesy of the artist and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation